As a Florida man’s dog attacked another dog Monday evening, it looked like the man was running over to separate his pet from the dog it was biting, deputies said.
But the man didn’t restrain his attacking dog during the incident at the dog-walking area of a Gainesville, Fla., apartment complex. Instead, the attacking dog’s owner took a green, tennis ball-launching dog toy and used it to strike the owner of the other dog in the face, the victim told the sheriff’s office.
Thomas Phillips, 31, was arrested around 8 p.m. on charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in connection with the attack on the 33-year-old dog owner, according to an Alachua County Sheriff’s Office report. The charge is a second-degree felony.
The tennis ball launcher was 3 feet long and made of hard plastic, deputies said.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they found the victim with a swollen, red face. The victim had an abrasion “consistent with being struck in the face with the tennis ball launcher,” according to the sheriff’s office report.
The victim told deputies that he’d arrived at the dog walking area Monday night with his dog on a leash. But then Phillips’ dog, which wasn’t on a leash, began to bite and attack the victim’s dog, according to the sheriff’s office.
As the victim tried to separate the two dogs, his dog managed to get loose of its collar and leash, he said. In an effort to get the attacking dog to release his dog, the victim then took the leash his dog had shed and used it to swing at Phillips’ biting dog, he told the sheriff’s office.
And that’s when Phillips ran over and hit him unexpectedly with the large toy, the victim said. Phillips denied striking the victim with the tennis ball launcher, deputies said.
Phillips was booked at the Alachua County Jail. He was released on Thursday, according to county court records.